Book Haul – week ended 7 October 2017

Another click happy week but with some great freebies and fabulous bargains in the Kindle Sale I’m surprised it wasn’t more.

Kindle purchases

 

Angolan ClanThe Angolan Clan by Christopher Lowery

1974/5: After the Revolution of the Carnations, Portugal is transformed into a communist state. Capitalists are ruthlessly persecuted and the liberated Portuguese colony of Angola is thrust into one of the bloodiest civil wars in history. The fabled Angolan diamond mines are closed down, but not before a group of refugees escape with a hoard of the precious gems. Their lives promise wealth and success, but a legacy of revenge and greed will eventually find them all, with fatal consequences.. 2008: A millionaire businessman drowns in the swimming pool of his mansion in Marbella; a wealthy Frenchman is killed while skiing in the Swiss Alps; and a Portuguese playboy and a prostitute are found murdered together in a seedy New York apartment. The series of seemingly unconnected deaths sets two women Jenny Bishop, a young English widow, and Angolan born Leticia da Costa on a terrifying journey into the past to revisit the Portuguese revolution and the Angolan civil war. Together they begin to unlock a 30 year old mystery that promises to change their lives forever if they survive to reveal the truth. THE ANGOLAN CLAN takes the reader on a heart-stopping roller coaster ride, from past to present and back again. It is a deadly intercontinental treasure hunt laced with secrets, deceit and murder. The prize is a fortune in Angolan diamonds..or death at the hands of a pathological killer.

 

House to Mend a Broken HeartA House to Mend a Broken Heart by Alison Sherlock

Willow Tree Hall has seen much better days and has been the proud ancestral home of the Earl and Countess of Cranley for centuries.

With no qualifications and escaping her past Annie Rogers takes the job as housekeeper to widowed Arthur, the charming current Earl of Cranley. After a bad fall puts Arthur in hospital, it’s up to his reluctant heir, Sam Harris, to lend a helping hand and try to find a sustainable future for the Estate.

With the house requiring a full renovation, Annie suddenly finds herself completely out of her depth with a team of dodgy builders and Sam watching critically from the side-lines.

With Sam running from his past and Annie hiding from hers, just maybe together they can bring Willow Tree Hall back to life.

The start of a beautiful new series focussing on the lives and loves, trials and tribulations of all those who live and work at Willow Tree Hall.

 

It Was Always YouIt Was Always You by Georgie Capron

Libby has been drifting through life for too long and, now in her early 30’s, it’s time to grow up. She decides to have one last summer of fun before buckling down, so heads off to beautiful Positano in Italy.

There, despite all her good intentions, she can’t help but fall a little in love with the very handsome, but rather naughty, Luca and, as the summer draws to a close, Libby has some big decisions to make.

Should she head back home and face up to her responsibilities? Is Luca really the right man to start a family with, or has the perfect man been right in front of her eyes all this time?

And, when it comes to affairs of the heart, is it really better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

 

Maria in the MoonMaria in the Moon by Louise Beech

Long ago my beloved Nanny Eve chose my name. Then one day she stopped calling me it. I try now to remember why, but I just can’t.’ Thirty-two-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria. With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges … and changes everything. Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…

 

Uncommon Life of Alfred WarnerThe Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days by Juliet Conlin

Approaching 80, frail and alone, a remarkable man makes the journey from his sheltered home in England to Berlin to meet his granddaughter. He has six days left to live and must relate his life story before he dies…

His life has been rich and full. He has witnessed firsthand the rise of the Nazis, experienced heartrending family tragedy, fought in the German army, been interred in a POW camp in Scotland and faced violent persecution in peacetime Britain. But he has also touched many lives, fallen deeply in love, raised a family and survived triumphantly at the limits of human endurance. He carries within him an astonishing family secret that he must share before he dies… a story that will mean someone else’s salvation.

Welcome to the moving, heart-warming and uncommon life of Alfred Warner.

 

Cottingley SecretThe Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

1917: When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, announce they have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when the great novelist, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, endorses the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a sensation; their discovery offering something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war.

One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript and a photograph in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story of the two young girls who mystified the world. As Olivia is drawn into events a century ago, she becomes aware of the past and the present intertwining, blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, will Olivia find a way to believe in herself?

 

This Must be the PlaceThis Must be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

A reclusive ex-film star living in the wilds of Ireland, Claudette Wells is a woman whose first instinct, when a stranger approaches her home, is to reach for her shotgun. Why is she so fiercely protective of her family, and what made her walk out of her cinematic career when she had the whole world at her feet?

Her husband Daniel, reeling from a discovery about a woman he last saw twenty years ago, is about to make an exit of his own. It is a journey that will send him off-course, far away from the life he and Claudette have made together. Will their love for one another be enough to bring Daniel back home?

 

Balthazar JonesBalthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo by Julia Stuart

Meet Balthazar Jones, Beefeater at the Tower of London. Married to Hebe, he lives and works in the Tower, as he struggles to cope with the tragic death of his son Milo, three years ago.

The Tower of London is its own magical world; a maze of ancient buildings, it is home to a weird and wonderful cast of characters – the Jones’s of course, as well as Reverend Septimus Drew, the Ravenmaster, and Ruby Dore, landlady of the Tower’s very own tavern, the Rack & Ruin. And, after an announcement from Buckingham Palace that the Queen’s exotic animals are to be moved from London Zoo to the Tower’s grounds, things are about to become a whole lot more interesting…

Komodo dragons, marmosets, and even zorillas (‘a highly revered yet uniquely odorous skunk-like animal from Africa’) fill the Tower’s menagerie – and it is Balthazar Jones’s job to take care of them. Things run far from smoothly, though – missing penguins and stolen giraffes are just two of his worries

 

Lost Daughter of IndiaThe Lost Daughter of India by Sharon Maas

When Caroline meets Kamal the attraction is instant. He’s enchanting, charismatic and she can’t wait to set up a new life with him in India. Both their families are against the union but Caroline is convinced they’ll come round, especially when she gives birth to a beautiful daughter, Asha.

Asha is an adorable child but Caroline, homesick and beginning to hate the remote Indian village they live in, struggles with motherhood. Kamal is hardly ever there and she feels more and more isolated. In the grips of severe depression Caroline flees back to America, leaving Asha behind.

Ten years later …

Caroline recovered from her illness, is consumed by thoughts of the daughter she abandoned. Desperate to find Asha, she reunites with Kamal, intent on tracking her down. Will they ever be able to find their lost daughter? If they have any chance, they must confront the painful truths of the past and a terrible secret that has been kept for many years, until now.

 

TobacconistThe Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler

When seventeen-year-old Franz exchanges his home in the idyllic beauty of the Austrian lake district for the bustle of Vienna, his homesickness quickly dissolves amidst the thrum of the city. In his role as apprentice to the elderly tobacconist Otto Trsnyek, he will soon be supplying the great and good of Vienna with their newspapers and cigarettes. Among the regulars is a Professor Freud, whose predilection for cigars and occasional willingness to dispense romantic advice will forge a bond between him and young Franz.

It is 1937. In a matter of months Germany will annex Austria and the storm that has been threatening to engulf the little tobacconist will descend, leaving the lives of Franz, Otto and Professor Freud irredeemably changed.

 

Into the North WindInto the North Wind by Jill Homer

“Into the North Wind” chronicles Jill Homer’s record-breaking bicycle ride across Alaska on the Iditarod Trail. Jill is one of those “accidental athletes” who stumbled into endurance racing shortly after she moved to Alaska in 2005. After a hundred miles, her first race only scratched the surface of the historic trail that spans a vast and frozen wilderness. Ever since, she dreamed about the chiming of ice crystals at thirty below zero, black spruce shadows in the moonlight, the ethereal dance of the Northern Lights, and a journey that could take her deeper into this transcendental world — the thousand-mile race to Nome.

After ten years of dreaming, she finally made the leap in 2016. Fitness, however, remained elusive as ambitious preparations left a wake of failures, sickness and injury. Even the existence of the trail remained in question — throughout the winter, Alaska experienced unprecedented heat waves and snow melt that threatened to render the Iditarod Trail impassable. By the time Jill lined up at the start, she was ready to chuck her dream into the barely-frozen lake.

Instead, she pedaled across waterlogged ice, repeating her mantra of “one day at a time.” This account is not just a story about seeking beauty, overcoming setbacks and uncovering hidden strength — it’s a journey into the benevolent heart of the coldest, loneliest trail.

 

Hardback Purchases

Jacob's RoomJacob’s Room is Full of Books by Susan Hill (signed edition)

When we spend so much of our time immersed in books, who’s to say where reading ends and living begins? The two are impossibly and gloriously wedded, as Hill shows in Jacob’s Room Is Full of Books.

Considering everything from Edith Wharton’s novels through to Alan Bennett’s diaries, Virginia Woolf and the writings of twelfth century monk Aelred of Rievaulx, Susan Hill charts a year of her life through the books she has read, reread or returned to the shelf. From beneath a shady tree in a hot French summer, or the warmth of a kitchen during an English winter, Hill reflects on what her reading throws up, from writing and writers to politics and religion, as well as the joy of dandies or the pleasure of watching a line of geese cross a meadow.

Full of wry observations and warm humour, as well as strong opinions freely aired, this is a rare and wonderful insight into the rich world of reading from one of the nation’s most accomplished authors.

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